The best Vancouver style and shopping
Shopping starts Downtown on Robson Street, whose boutiques are the last word in Vancouver style. Lined by flagship stores of international fashion brands, the street is ideal for a spot of window-shopping, wallet-emptying or just people-watching. If you’re after something higher-end than Zara and Gap, take a turn north on Burrard and walk a couple of blocks to Alberni. ‘Affluent Alley’, as this strip is dubbed, is where Hermès, Coach, Tiffany & Co. and the like reside. For everything else, the Pacific Centre mall under Granville Street crams in more than 100 retailers; if that’s not enough to rock your boat, the mall also connects to the Hudson’s Bay department store (run by the oldest continually operated company in North America).
Design-conscious boutiques are busily taking over the mid-Main section of Main Street, currently the city’s hottest fashion district, though Eugene Choo, selling threads and accessories here since 2000, has been around long enough to achieve landmark status. The section between 19th and 23rd Avenues is best for local independent fashion and Canadian chic. For vintage housewares, check out Commercial Drive in East Vancouver – you never knew how much you needed an atomic age retro record player until you saw it at Attic Treasures.
Plentiful students and an educated population ensure that it’s easy to find bargains at used bookshops in Vancouver. Pulpfiction Books sell some of the best; they have branches on Main Street, West Broadway or Commercial Drive. Don’t be surprised if your purchases are inscribed by leading Canadian artists and scholars. Their collection of vintage pulp is worth browsing too, if only for the retro cover art.